The Report That Changed Blogging.
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By Yaro Starak
Erika Awakening tells a thoroughly entertaining story in this podcast interview. She explains how she went from a full time lawyer, had a near death experience, then started an internet business where she has had individual clients spend up to $100,000 on her products and coaching.
What’s unique about this story are the subjects that Erika found herself making money in. She didn’t plan it, but she started out as a seduction coach, primarily helping men with dating advice, thanks to a blog she started to track her own dating experiences.
The other subject she was pulled towards is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – or often called, Tapping.
Erika started as a private coach and managed to make over $100,000 with her business even while still working as a lawyer. Eventually she quit her job and then created video courses to teach people how to release mindset blockages using EFT.
Although at times a controversial figure because she has unconventional views on hot topics like relationships, Erika enjoys walking an unusual path and helping others with her knowledge. You will see this come through during the interview.
Throughout this interview I continue to ask Erika how she attracted customers and how she could continuously raise her prices.
The answer is in the personal brand she built.
Although she angered plenty of people who don’t share her beliefs, she connected strongly with some people, who would go on to purchase her products and take part in her coaching programs.
Make sure you listen all the way through this interview as Erika explains clearly how each different phase of her business progressed.
If you’re currently working a full time job, this interview will also inspire you to see what is possible to create outside of working hours.
Although I have heard of Erika from many years ago due to my own interest in the dating niche (thanks initially to Davide DeAngelo/Eben Pagan), this interview came about because Erika left a comment to my recent popular blog post –
In her comment Erika noted that she agreed with my point how most people are too fixated by the amount of traffic you have and not the quality of your audience. Here is a snippet from her comment –
The best time period I ever had, I made a quarter million dollars in six months during a time when my main site was getting only 1800 monthly visitors. That’s how much traffic and money were NOT correlated.
Erika is a brilliant example of having a six figure business for many years based on a very small buying audience. It’s her repeat customers, those who love what she stands for and teaches, who she focuses on and helps the most.
Enjoy the interview!
Hello, you’ve just downloaded an Entrepreneurís Journey podcast episode. Iím your host, Yaro. Iím an online entrepreneur who has been blogging since the year 2005. Prior to that, I had several different online businesses including a proofreading business and a Magic The Gathering e-commerce card game store.
However, blogging has been my main bread and butter for the past almost ten years now and as part of my blog, Iíve had this podcast, the Entrepreneurís Journey podcast which began initially as an experiment to see what podcasting was all about and then, slowly evolved into what it is today, a series of interviews with other online entrepreneurs, bloggers, information marketers, small business owners, people who have had success building a business and am income stream online. I asked them how they did it.
We go back in time to hear about their story. We hear how they got the idea, what they did to get traffic, how they then grew it, how they made money, all the ups and downs in the process. It gives you a really great background story into what it takes to have a really successful online business.
Now, todayís guest is Erika Awakening who has a little bit of an unusual story to tell in terms of how she transitioned away from being a lawyer into certainly not the niche you would expect a lawyer to get into. She went on into dating advice for men, which as a woman was already a little bit unusual and also into EFT, which is tapping, a form of therapy you can do to help remove limiting beliefs.
What was especially inspiring, I believe about this particular interview which weíll hear is Erika was able to start her business as a side project to a full-time lawyer career, which as you can imagine, is a lot of hard work and make six figures, $100, 000 a year as a side business initially.
Obviously, that was a big juggle to do full time lawyer job, as well as have this business, and she did eventually leave her job but, youíll hear how the transition happened, how she was able to start a business as a side project, how she eventually was able to quit that job as a lawyer, and moving to different niches.
Youíll also hear Erika explain how she made $30,000 per client as a coach, and that is an extraordinarily high amount to charge so, youíll hear she was able to justify that and get people to pay for that level of coaching.
I know youíll love this interview. Iíll let you dive straight into it. I do recommend though, if youíd like to continue to receive more interviews like this that you head to my blog which is entrepreneurs-journey.com. You can also go to iTunes and find the EJ podcast that way and there, you can subscribe through the various channels I have whether itís email, whether itís a podcast feed on your phone, and I really look forward to having you as a regular subscriber.
Here we go, hereís the interview with Erika. Enjoy!
YARO: Hello, this is Yaro and welcome to an Entrepreneurís Journey podcast interview. Today, I have a guest who has a long story, weíre going to progress through, maybe not the start but, certainly from the business start all the way to the present.
Iím really curious to hear the little pieces of this puzzle because itís a little bitÖ Iím not going to say unusual but, thereís some unique angles about how the business has been structured and the services provided and Iím not even clear about what they all are so, Iím looking forward to hearing about it.
Erika Awakening, thank you for joining me.
ERIKA: Oh, hi Yaro! Thanks for having me on.
YARO: Now, I have to ask first, Awakening is not your last name obviously, is it?
ERIKA: No, itís not. It started that because my first blog was called Awakening from the Dream because my entire method of philosophy is about consciousness awakening and I had to create a Facebook account and I didnít want to use my real name so, I just put Awakening because that was my blog and I had no idea it was going to turn into a name. It then became my business name and everybody called me that so, thatís where I got it.
YARO: Okay, Erika Awakening.
So, as a big picture summary before we dive into the history just to give people a picture of where you are, you quit your job a number of years ago and youíve been making six figures online each year since then.
In this sort of, I donít know how to say this other than holistic health, is probably the big picture phrasing. Is thatÖ?
ERIKA: I would call it the main focus is re-programming a subconscious mind and I actually made six-figures on the side before I quit my jobÖ
YARO: Right, thatís pretty cool. You must have been working hard.
ERIKA: Yes, I was. I was.
YARO: Okay well, just before we dive in to the part here you switched over, just to clarify as well, so youíve been making six figures primarily teaching through the Internet, is that right?
ERIKA: Yes, basically the main income streams of the business have been personal coaching, most of which Iíve done on Skype so, even that has been on the Internet and then, after I quit my job, I started a line of video products which made the coaching accessible to more people at a lower price point. Thatís been a nice other income stream for the business.
YARO: Okay, letís just see how all these started then. I do like to cover any other entrepreneurial businesses, practices, even the lemonade stand as a kid. Did you have anything of that nature before the current business you run?
ERIKA: I didnít have a lot. I did wait tables in college and I think thatís valuable experience for anyone really because you learn so much about people and what they buy and how they approach things.
And then, I had this house, because I was a lawyer before I did this. San Francisco real estate was so expensive that I bought in Tahoe area instead. It was actually quite a bit less expensive. And, I started renting it out a few years before I started my blog so, I did learn a lot about people and I did that business entirely online. Well, it wasnít really a business but, I learned some stuff. Itís a very, very different type of sale than personal coaching. So, some of itís fine and a lot of it doesnít.
YARO: That was before Airbnb was around I assume.
ERIKA: Yes, and I donít use that site actually because Iím not crazy about how they work it but, I use a couple of other sites that are great.
YARO: So, youíre a lawyer then. Has that been your predominant career prior to the Internet?
ERIKA: Yes, I was a lawyer. I went to a fancy school. I thought I would be doing that for the rest of my life and the truth is, I went to law school because I didnít think I could be good at business. I really had a very strong limiting belief about that.
YARO: Itís funny you look at law school and you look at business school and I think law school might even be a lot harder than business school. In my mind, I saw that anyway based on the lawyers, how much work they do.
ERIKA: Yes. It was horrible [laughs]. But, you know, there was a block. Thatís what a lot of people have, thatís why a lot of people have such a hard time starting a business because we have these mental blocks and theyíre not sure at all but, they feel true, you know what Iím saying?
YARO: Oh yes, for sure. So, you finished your law degree, became a lawyer, had a career, and then, at some point, realized that you were pretty miserable because thatís sort of a clichÈ story, was that you as well?
ERIKA: The big change relied in your depth experience. Iím sure you talk to people about them before. It changes everything.
YARO: Right. Can you tell us more about that?
ERIKA: Yes, I was going along. I knew I wasnít happy but, like many people who know they are not happy, itís just, well, Iím good at this and itís too hard to make any changes. You know, I had all those excuses going on.
And so, I had suddenly a catastrophic side effect from a really minor medical procedure and I ended up in the hospital literally, right on the verge of being in the ICU for a week.
I was in tremendous amount of pain. My body got blown up with water. I had 40 pounds of water in my body and I donít weigh very much. So, you can imagine, I was blown up like a balloon, tremendous amount of pain, I couldnít tolerate the pain killers so, Iíd basically just lay in there groaning in pain and realizing that I might not make it out of it.
I was like, ìWow, if I might not make it out of here, my life is basically garbage.î It was essentially what I came to. Iím like, Iím in a job I donít like doing something thatís not meaningful and I just realized if, well, actually, I donít know if you believe in a Creator or not but, I do and I was talking to the big guy upstairs. I was like, ìYou give me another chance, Iíll do this all differently. I can see that my life is completely messed up.î
YARO: Right. And, obviously, you recovered.
ERIKA: I recovered. It was a slow recovery. I was out of work for quite some weeks and when I got back, the first thing that changed is I stopped working overtime. I basically have been working compulsively unpaid overtime to try to impress my superiors, you know, that sort of thing, and I couldnít do it anymore. Once in a while, I absolutely had to but, aside from that, I stopped working overtime which freed up my weekends and my evenings to do all those things.
Thatís where the story really begins because thatís when I started doing all this reading your mind and thinking there was going to be another path, there is going to be another way. And that was how I first learned about how t hating advice community and about emotional freedom technique and all the things that I teach now.
YARO: Okay, can you timestamp this? What year was that when you started searching online?
ERIKA: Yes, near death experience was in 2006. I actually started meditating a couple months before that because I was already kind of, sort of realizing something was going to have to change.
But, it was after that. You would consider all of 2006 basically a research year. I didnít do any blogging. I hadnít started any of that yet, in fact, 2007 as well. So basically, from 2006 to late 2008, I was a magnet for learning. I just went out and read and read and read and I went to workshops and I studied and I learned.
YARO: Iím curious, what did you look for at that phase? Did you type in, ìI want to make money on the Internet?î How did this process evolve?
ERIKA: No, I wasnít even close to that yet. I was looking to get out of feeling like crap. I had several chronic medical issues going on. One was chronic pain, another one was skin condition. I felt totally disconnected from people so, a lot of what I was looking for was social stuff and the spiritual side of things was really taking on a lot of life from me.
So, for example, I was really into Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra during that time period. I discovered this whole seduction community and how to teaching men how to connect with women.
YARO: I got to ask, how does that connect? I understand Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, probably I got told in that sort of world of personal development and spirituality, how did that lead to male seduction especially because youíre a woman?
ERIKA: Yes, okay thatís just one little missing link which is I was thinking at that time, I have a very different philosophy about all these now because itís evolved a lot. But, at that time, I was thinking I should have a partner. I should be dating and I should… right?
So, I thought I started with the womenís advice for dating but, I found it to be very unhelpful like it just didnít work. And so, somehow in searching for that stuff, I came across one of the guysí books. I think it was Neil Straussís pickup artist book, you know the really famous one, The Game.
YARO: The Game, yes.
ERIKA: And, I bought it online just because I was buying all these womenís ones and they didnít really have the answers I wanted and I remember when I read his book, and when I started researching the guyís side of it, I was like, ìWell, this stuff all sort of makes sense in a way the women stuff didnít.î Itís like the women were trying to be a little too idealistic and the men were being more practical so, that makes sense.
YARO: Yes, I hate to mention clichÈs but, that does sound like the way the sexes are, weíre generalizing here but, approach things.
ERIKA: Yes, so I got really, really intrigued with that and then, I did a one on one coaching with one of the guys in the industry in about February of 2007. I just loved it. It was so much fun and so, I kept going in that direction but, meanwhile, I had a personal crisis which is how tapping came into my world, and I started experimenting with tapping and it has given me all kinds of crazy results.
And then, like this looks really weird, it sound really weird because I donít know if youíve done it before but, you tap on all these acupuncture points on your body and you speak basically what is a form of NLP essentially. Itís like youíre hypnotic language for your own subconscious mind.
But, I was just experimenting with it and getting results. More so than any of the other stuff Iíve been studying. The other stuff Iíve studied all kind of sounded good but, Iím a very practical person, I like results. Thatís why I like the menís dating advice and thatís why I like tapping.
So, one of the early things I applied tapping to was my rental income for this house. I got it to go up by 65% while everybody else was saying, there arenít any rentals because we were in the middle of a recession.
YARO: Okay, clarify how that works. Like Iím assuming youíre using tapping to change some sort of mindset issue like a blockage youíve got and then, that has to tie in to market realities too about how much someone is willing to pay for rent, right?
ERIKA: Well, those were all things that people think these are just objective facts but, as I found out, they really werenít objective facts. Itís almost like we all have blinders on all the time and we donít see it until our mind gets changed at a deeper level, if that makes sense.
So yes, I mean, just to be very practical, I wrote down a list of my limiting beliefs around the rental income market. I wrote down all the things like youíre just saying, like, for example, the ski house. Itís pretty easy to get rentals on weekends but, I was basically never having mid-week rentals. So, that was one of my limiting beliefs I wrote down and I wrote down people wonít pay more than X-amount for myÖ And, I wrote down, itís going to be really hard because the economy has crashed and nobody has money, and I just wrote an all email list. I wrote them all down and Iím very practical like this is just the ìrealityî that Iím in here. And, I started applying this, and as I did my mindset shifted and I was like, ìWell, you know, this is a great house. I put a lot of caring into it. Maybe I could raise the rates. Maybe people would pay more for it. And, maybe I could get mid-week rentals.î
So, I just started doing that and one way or another, nobody really understands the causation of tapping. I explain it purely as our mind is really being in our results but, nobody could really tell you for sure exactly why it works.
But, what would happen is I would tap and within a few hours or maybe the next day, I would get increase coming in and the sales were happening more easily. People were willing to pay more money and mid-week rentals started coming in. And the next thing you know, by the end of the year, Iíd made 65% more money than the previous year and I didnít change the marketing.
YARO: Did you change the price on the website?
ERIKA: Prices I did raise and people paid them. So, it was a combination of getting higher rental rates and giving more days rented. So, I was like, okay, wow! This is working. So, what else can we apply this to and see what happens?
Thatís how it started.
YARO: Okay, so basically your year or two yearsí worth of researching, you got the most from, this is an interesting combination, from the male seduction community and EFT, tapping. You wouldnít see that coming from a lawyerís background, would you?
ERIKA: You wouldnít have seen it. I mean, the way it all played out was so amazingly and beautifully orchestrated. I think meditation really helps with that, by the way but, anyway, moving on.
YARO: Yes, letís continue. So, how does this turn into a business and Iíd love to hear about this phase where you basically grew it to six figures while you still worked as a lawyer, which sounds impossible, or you either donít sleep. Iím not sure how you do it.
ERIKA: Yes, well, for a while, it was really a lot of work. I got to be honest. There was a time period when I was basically working all the time but, it wasnít a long time period. So, it can be done and I did not feel comfortable quitting my job because of my mortgage and my other obligations. I just didnít feel comfortable quitting. So, that gave me a very big incentive to get it above six figures very quickly.
YARO: Ö to replace your legal job, right?
ERIKA: Yes, because I was making six figures in that job so, I was basically in that situation where if I just quit cold turkey with this huge mortgage, it would have been pretty scary. People have done it. People could do it but, I didnít feel comfortable.
YARO: All right, so how did you do it then? Did you just at nights and weekends start a website and thenÖ?
YARO: Well, take us forward.
ERIKA: Yes, so basically, late 2008, and this is one of the best parts of the stories, so this pickup artist guy who Iíd had the one on one with, we continued our relationship which had its ups and downs. At around September or I think it was October, one of the two, in 2008, I was actually really annoyed with him. I was mad at him and he had this blog which was a very entertaining blog, Blogspot blog, and one day, I was just really annoyed and I was reading his blog and up at the top, it said something like, ìCreate a Blog,î right on the upper right hand corner.
ERIKA: I was all [20:10] and Iím like, ìwell fine, Iím going to create my own blog.î It was one of those petty little things, right. So, I clicked on the button. Iím not a tech savvy person at all but, you know, this was Blogspot. So within a few minutes, I had my own blog and I just started writing.
YARO: So, it was a revenge blog to begin with.
ERIKA: It kind of was. Itís almost embarrassing to admit that but, yes. It kind of was.
YARO: Okay, and how does that connect with everything?
ERIKA: So then, and this is again where I tell people, if you start doing meditation, all these things could start happening. I donít know if you meditate but, Iím a big believer in it.
Right around the same time I was also mythed(?) at him so, his major competitor in the market, I reached out to them, and I was going to take one of their summer course. It was also a revenge thing. So, I reached out to them and by synchronicity, they were having their very first co-ed event that very weekend in LA. Literally, the timing was ridiculous.
I live in San Francisco and I was like, fine, Iíll show him. If heís not interested in my ideas, Iím going to start a blog and go into a competitorís event. So, I drive down to LA and I meet this very, very famous pickup artist, one of the most famous, who gives this relatively very small co-ed talk down there which was really fun and afterward I stayed and talked to those people, just being social. I wasnít expecting something to come out of this really. I just wanted to meet people and a guy in there kind of, you know how you keep these messages from people. Theyíre just messengers and he said, ìYou need to go on this forum.î And, my blog was about a week old at this point, I think.
So, I go on this forum and he didnít tell me itís an all menís forum. I go on this forum and I start posting because by this time, Iím an expert at seduction community sect because Iíve been studying it for a year and a half. And, I know all the lingo and everything. And, I go on and he said, ìYou should post on the forum.î So, I registered and whatever. I donít think itís a big deal. Iíve been posting on other forums because of all my studying and research and none of those have been a big deal.
But, you see, because I was the only woman I the forum, I mean, I knew all the lingo. I was like a sensation absolutely overnight.
So, all of a sudden, everybodyís paying attention to me and reading my blog and those are those kind of like it just dropped out of heaven and you canít plan those kind of stuff, right? Itís just meant to happen.
YARO: Okay, so yes, and the case of good timing just by the event to being on for you to be there.
ERIKA: Yes, all the stars aligned, right? So, basically, Iím not commercial so, Iím not a threat to them which is part of the beauty of how these all unfolded, right. I had no profit. I had no products, no services, no nothing. So, they didnít view me as a coach. They didnít view me as competition. They didnít kick me off of a forum and I was attracting a lot of traffic as this woman who knew what she was talking about so, they let me stay on this forum for a year actually.
What happened is I started getting blog traffic basically overnight and my blog became relatively successful within a couple of months which a lot of bloggers donít have all that synchronicity working their favor.
YARO: Thatís because you had people connecting with you in the forum when you had a link in your signature back to your blog. Is that right?
ERIKA: Exactly. It was a very popular high-traffic forum so, people started coming over and reading my stuff.
YARO: Okay and didnít you start charging money for something, I assume, right?
ERIKA: Not yet.
YARO: Not yet, okay.
ERIKA: Kept it on for quite a while with me being fairly popular but not having any products or services and then, people started inviting me to their events and at first, they were inviting me as a guest, and I was writing reviews and so forth, and that was getting me more traffic which is definitely a tip to give to people. If they donít yet have their own products and services, they can build up a lot of goodwill in a community by writing about other peopleís products and services. So, thatís essentially what I was doing.
And, I still wasnít really thinking that this is going to turn in to a full time thing but, lo and behold, around, I donít remember what it was, maybe March of the following year, so I have been blogging for about six months, I started to get invited as a speaker at events.
YARO: Just to clarify something here, I got to pitch this, youíre going to your job as a lawyer by day and coming home by night and writing on menís seduction forums and writing a blog about men seduction, thatís right?
ERIKA: Yes, thatís right.
ERIKA: And, I didnít tell them about the blog which I didnít have to because it wasnít commercial but they did find it.
YARO: And, obviously, no one at work has any clue youíre doing any of those.
ERIKA: They didnít have any because I was basically just going home. I was like I was leading a double life basically.
ERIKA: There was nothing illegal about it or anything because I wasnítÖ like if I have been charging money, I wouldnít have had to tell them but, it wasnít. But, they did eventually find it and thatís a whole another story which we wonít probably go off on that detour because that was a pretty funny little episode in and of itself.
YARO: Letís focus on how you got the six figures, thatís what Iím curious about.
ERIKA: Yes. Basically, around March of the following year, I am starting to get invited as a speaker and then, itís becoming obvious to me, okay, this could really become big.
YARO: What was your angle then, like they were inviting you to speak about just a womanís perspective or was there something else?
ERIKA: Well, I really stood out in the community because I was basically at that time, one of the only women who would master the whole concepts and the vocabulary and everything else. So, in general, they cuckooed womenís advice because most women werenít really giving very practical pointers.
But, what I was able to bring is I was writing about men that was dating and I was able to give a perspective that wasnít in the community which is this is how it is to be a woman when a man does X, Y, or Z and this is why X, Y, or Z works and this is why it doesnít. Do you see what Iím saying?
ERIKA: So, I was kind of writing a tell all blog with all these men I was dating which at that time was law and people loved it like they just… men and women were just eating this up. Itís a very different approach from what I do today but, at the time it worked.
ERIKA: So, essentially, Iíd become kind of a mini-celebrity almost overnight based on this confessional blog combined with the expertise. So, yes, thatís how it all got started and then, when I got some of these major speaking gigs the following year, I really started to make a name for myself. But still, the money wasnít really coming in plus I had to jump hurdles at my job to be able to officially make money doing this.
I already had the okay from them to make money from tapping but, not this blog and seduction and all that stuff, right?
YARO: Yes, Iíd love to see that meeting with your superior at the law firm [laughs].
ERIKA: Yes, so this all unfolded over a matter of months. So, finally I got the all clear, yes, we get it. You have our first amendment right to do this and thereís nothing we can do about it.
So, finally I have the all cleared to move out from the money side of it and I did start making sales in 2009 but, not a huge amount because–
YARO: Of what?
ERIKA: At that time, I didnít have video products so, I had one audio product that was very low priced and then, I was doing this coaching session which originally were one off sessions but, very, very quickly, it became clear to me, youíre not going to make six figures on one off coaching sessions. Itís not going to happen. Itís what was needed and also people werenít going to get the benefits because they do one session, yes, they are going to learn something but, they are not really going to commit and they are not going to get the kind of results Iíve gotten because they havenít done it in a sustained way.
So, very, very quickly, I created my 15-week miracle coaching program and started requiring people to do at least five sessions and thereís one of your big money-making tips right there. Instead of doing one-off sessions, getting people to commit longer term is one of the very key things I did in my business.
YARO: Okay, to connect this with what youíre doing, you had the blog and you had the exposure on stage and these forums. When it came to selling products, were you just putting a link on this Blogspot blog, click here to send me some money via Paypal and then, weíll talk on Skype. Was it as simple as that? Or, did you start really building a shopping cart, sales pages, email newsletter, getting more structure in your online marketing?
ERIKA: No, I mean, first of all, it wasnít very tech savvy. I think I just started to get my own domain towards the end of 2009, Iím not sure. All the timing is a little foggy now but, up until the end of 2009, I was still on my little Blogspot. I did open, I think at first, it was Paypal links only and then, I opened a one shopping cart account. I donít think that was until 2010.
So, this is all pretty primitive. The audio, it was an Abundance audio teleclass that we then resold as a product and those were all Paypal links. And then, so people have been regular commenters on my blogs so, those were the people who were in the rest of the sessions. So, yes, a lot of the first one-off sessions, they just bought them as a special offer on the website. I always do limited time offers, thatís another secret of this business. Always give people a reason to commit now instead of putting it off until later.
So, I figured that out pretty quickly and basically, thatís how I got my first few clients. But, it wasnít a lot. I think in 2009, I made, if I remember right, it was somewhere around $22,000 total which isnít a lot and most of that was at the very end of the year.
YARO: Okay, so the next year, you became more sophisticated and had more product?
ERIKA: Well, first, I hit the wall because what happened was at first, I got few of these long term clients who had been really excited about my blog and some of that 22 grand came in pretty easy. Then, I hit the wall. The people who were going to be easy had already bought and so, Iím still writing all this content and the first half of 2010, was kind of a disaster. I actually hired a copywriter and that was a complete flop like the sale I paid like the sale, I paid like three grand for all these stuff and it didnít sell at all. Another lesson learned on this path. I write all my own copy now. I donít ever hire that out.
So, the first half of 2010, I was actually getting more and more frustrated and depressed and thinking Iím never going to be able to quit my job. I did get like another really good long-term client in January but then, it was like, I mean, we were just barely scraping along from about January to June and in July, I pretty much gave up. Iím just like, ìIím done.î I still have the article in my blog. I was like, ìIím going on vacation.î I was fed up with my audience. They werenít giving back. It was totally frustrating. I was writing all these great content and people loved it but, they wouldnít pay.
So, I basically threw a tempered tantrum and then, I took a some time off and then, I went to a trip to Vegas and I met this guy in Vegas who was really charming and almost seducing like, you know, got me back to his hotel room very quickly.
And, he was such a master with it that he created all these great stories and I wrote coming off of that trip a seven-part blog series that just all my momentum got going from there if that makes sense.
YARO: Iíd love to know the titles of that seven-part series.
ERIKA: I gave all these guys nicknames. So, this one was the Vegas guy seduction series on my Spiritual Seduction blog.
So, the articles were really entertaining and very popular. Coming off of that, I had a couple of speaking engagements that were already lined up and basically, this is the kicker though is I started to think, ìOh, why donít I do with my business what I did with my rental income?î
So, I started tapping all my limiting beliefs about the business so, all of these are happening around the same time, middle of 2010. And then, I need another key decision a couple of months later that I cannot emphasize enough how important I think this was but, I had a project on my house that needed to get finished and it was a lot of money, like way more money than I was comfortable committing to and I committed to that contract anyways so, I knew I was going to have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get this project finished and I didnít know where the money was going to come from.
So, I think that really upped the ante if you will. What happened is from July when I started writing those articles, I was still barely chugging along with the money but, all of a sudden with the tapping and the motivation going up and everything else, all of a sudden I started making $12,000 in a month and then, more and I hit October of 2010 and I think I made $33,000 in one month.
ERIKA: So, basically we went from almost zero those first few months of 2010 to $33,000 a month. Thatís when I put in notice at my job.
YARO: What was different? Did you make better offers, charge moreÖ How did that come together?
ERIKA: Well, the tapping changed my mindset. So, I stopped kind of pouting and throwing tantrums and being mad at the people who were successful and I started looking more carefully at what they were doing and thinking, emulating it a little bit, I got a really simple outline of something I could send to my newsletters and I started experimenting with that and I started getting more responses on my newsletter offers after I did that.
But, a lot of it was mindset and thatís where I go back to what I did with my rental income. A lot of it was just getting rid of my limiting beliefs and shifting how I was thinking about the whole thing. I kept raising my rates. I learned how to pitch from a stage and make offers from the stage so, I got a couple of clients from each of those speaking engagements.
So, there were lots of factors that went into it but, a lot of it was mindset. Does that make sense?
YARO: Yes. You wouldnít make the decision to do all those changes if you had the mindset wrong.
ERIKA: Right, yes. It was being more committed and more motivated and not believing in my own limiting beliefs. I cannot emphasize that enough.
So, yes. Then once I had that momentum, the shocker was, here I still had the full time job. I was only doing this evenings and weekends but, I came to the end of the year, and I think I made $124,000 somewhere around there, that year, off of the business.
YARO: And, that is made up of coaching over the Skype in the phone?
ERIKA: That was basically, except for a few, my product sale at that point was almost zero so, that was almost all Skype sessions.
YARO: All right, this is something that people would love to hear especially because itís clearly something you can do early even why you have a job. How do you make a hundred thousand dollars plus just on telephone coaching?
ERIKA: Raise your rates.
YARO: So, what did you charge at this phase?
ERIKA: You know, I donít honestly donít remember. All I know is I kept raising the rates and part of it was I got out a calculator and I looked at how much am I going to have to make versus how many hours can IÖ because this is intensive coaching. It is not like you canít do 40 hours a week. You would hate yourself. Itís very intensive stuff. Like at most, 20 hours a week, itís the absolute maximum.
So, I work backwards. I use the calculator with my expenses and hourly rate I would need to charge was shockingly high. So, I kept upping it and I kept getting testimonials. So, testimonials are key. I kept publishing all these testimonials and people were raving about the results they were getting.
So, this was just building momentum, momentum, momentum. And then, every time I would raise my rates, Iíd make another limited time offer and say, ìOkay, last chance to get the rates Iëve been charging are going up again.î And, if just kept building on it.
YARO: Right. By this point, you must be perceived as a premium coach in the community as well which people are willing to spend five to ten thousand dollars on for coaching from.
ERIKA: I was but, just because people need to know thereís a dark side to all of these, right. I was getting plenty of criticism. There are lots of people who think that tapping is a bunch of baloney and they wonít even try it or they have never really worked with an expert. Some people were saying, ìSheís a complete fraud,î because they just think tapping is a fraud, right?
So, there was a lot of flak I got and I got a lot of people saying, ìNobody is going to pay that much. Youíll never get anyone to pay that much for coaching.î And, they were wrong.
YARO: At the end of the day, itís the result that people really care about so, if you can get people results and then, show others that these are the results theyíre getting then, youíve got something of value.
ERIKA: Yes, I mean as I tell people and I have had very consistent results with helping people make more money, if you pay me $5000 but, you end up making an extra $10,000 then, nobody lost anything a deal.
Because if youíve learned a skill where you can keep making more money then, obviously, that was a good deal for everybody involved.
YARO: Okay so, that year you did a lot of telephone coaching then, by the sound of things.
ERIKA: Yes, and I was getting to be exhausted, to be totally honest.
YARO: Right. So, next phase obviously, was how to transition from mostly telephone to a lot more digital being part of the equation, right?
ERIKA: Yes, so basically, I gave my notice at my job but, it still took me like six months to get out of there. I told them I was living but then, I had a very specialized kind of job. We all worked together at the job and I had an extra vacation time to use up so, I ended up leaving the job around, I think it was April 1st of 2011 and at that point, I went through another really scary phase which is that the bottom kind of fell out of my coaching business a few months after I quit my job. I was dealing with a surprising amount of fear which is all really good for tapping.
So, I did tons of tapping myself during this time for my own inner game because it was really scary. This is the first time in my life and I had when I quit my job, I had a mortgage of $200,000 to owe. So, it was terrifying. It was like, if the money doesnít come in, I didnít have a safety net.
And then, I had some pretty rough times toward the middle of that year. I had a coaching client who went south on me which had never really happened to me before and this is when I kind of learned the lesson about not giving refunds on large sales like this because it kind of pulled the bug out from under my business for a short period of time and it really freaked me out because under the policies I had at that time, he was entitled to most of his money back and I gave it back.
I had those coming in. I wasnít planning on that. That was a pretty big crises for me to go through.
YARO: It is unusual to have a refund policy on private coaching because youíre giving your time. Most people donít offer refunds on that.
ERIKA: Well, I had moronically, Iíll say to myself, I had listened to this guy who had been my coffee writer the year before and I shouldnít have. My gut had always been to not do refunds on it.
So, it was a mistake. It was a screw up because when youíre dealing with transformational coaching, peopleís buttons are going to get pushed and theyíre going to get into their own resistance and I just learned my own lesson. Basically, it was a rough patch but, I got through it.
And yes, I would highly advice people, if itís your personal time and youíre making a commitment to this other person, they need to make the same commitment to you basically is the way Iím dealing now.
So, anyway, that was rough but, essentially, the great thing about tapping is that every setback gives you the opportunity to improve your inner game. So, coming out of this, I did all these tapping. I was really angry for a while and I had to tap lots and lots of anger and it started to become clear like people were signing up for private coaching the way they had before the numbers had been much higher. So, finally, I just kind of sat back and I was like, ìOkay, universe, what are you trying to tell me? Is this a new direction or something? Whatís going on here?î
Thatís when the video coaching idea came, the video product idea came in. Thatís when I recorded the original 30-day abundance challenge and I actually recorded it when I needed money myself which made it a much better product, you see what Iím saying?
YARO: Right, your own case study.
ERIKA: Yes, I was like, this has to work. So, I recorded this 30-day video program which Iíve never done before. I have never put all of these on video and tried to teach people in a different format like this but, I was like I need $50,000 and I need it really fast so, we set it with the intention in this video program to manifest $50,000. And, I started recording these videos and I recorded them over several monthsí time because at that time, I wasnít as good with it. Now, I can record them really fast but, at that time, I was still learning all the video technology and everything.
And, at first, it seemed like nothing was happening and I always tell my clients this. Iím like, ìDonít worry. It seems like nothingís happening when youíre tapping,î because sometimes, the universe is working it out way better than you could have ever worked it out.
I really wanted a new car but, when this client bailed on me, I postponed that purchase and I really needed one because my other one was wearing out. So, Iím recording the challenge. It seems like nothingís happening and another month goes by and my car is parked out on the street and it gets side-swiped by somebody who always park on the street and they put a note on it, and this is relevant to our story by the way, they put a note on it with their insurance information. No, actually they didnít but a bystander did. So, it was a cab that hit me, whatever.
So, I called my insurance and the other companyís going to pay for it. Okay, I wonder that this is a hint that Iím supposed to get a new car. But, five days later, my car was parked in a totally different place and someone else hit it and left a note on it.
YARO: So, it was the same car, twice?
ERIKA: Twice in five days. I kid you not, parked on the street. This has never happened before, right. So, Iím like, okay, it seems like the Universe is bashing me over the head, right. Iíve written an article but, I donít want to make it too long of a story. But, suffice it to say I ended up getting two insurance settlements. I went in to get the new car. They gave it to me for basically only paying a DMV fee because I couldnít give them my old car yet because it was still in insurance or whatever.
So, I walked out of the place with, theyíre going to send me $10,000 for my old car. I have a new car that I have never paid $147 for but, financing on it is less than 1% interest. I get two insurance settlements and then, I talked to my CPA and I get all these tax breaks from the new car because itís going to be mostly used in my business, right and at the end of the day, I ended up better off with a new car than I was with the old car. It was almost unbelievable and the car was like a $50,000 car so, I had just been tapping for $50,000, right?
ERIKA: So, that was great!
YARO: [Laughs] Right.
ERIKA: But, that was just the beginning of what happened out of this video program because then, my business started picking up again and we got to January of 2012 and I made almost $70,000 in one month.
YARO: From what?
ERIKA: From the tale of this program. So anyway, thatís how it all kind of wrapped up. So, you see how that setback with that one client kind of set up the nextÖ week. Thatís another thing I like to teach people. People tend to get really discouraged by their setbacks and they forget that thereís a higher intelligence working on this, right?
So, if we interpret everything in our favor, a lot of times, these setbacks are actually helping us go to the next level.
YARO: Well, you certainly did with the cars to begin with and then, the $70,000 a month. Thatís amazing. I would love to, because youíre sort of covering the outcomes here, at this stage, how sophisticated was your business in terms of the set up like to deliver a video course straightaway. Iím thinking of membership siteÖ
YARO: Like how farÖ Weíre not blogs about bloggings still are we?
ERIKA: Right and part of the beauty of this is that my fixed cause only went up as my business success did which is another thing I recommend to people so, they donít get themselves in a bad cycle, you know.
If you put too sophisticated website at the beginning, so much money is going into it. Every month that youíre not making a lot, your business can fail. So, I only added bells and whistles as I had the money to do so and I think thatís really important for people. But, youíre right. Once I got to videos, I had to add Amazon S3 and that is a significant monthly expense so, itís not added lightly. People really should only do it when they know theyíre going to be able to cover it and I also got the Digital Access Pass. Are you familiar with their stuff?
ERIKA: Yes, I have their membership. So, basically, we integrated S3 with this DAP and later, we added a more (and Iím blanking on the name of it), a more sophisticated video interface toÖ
YARO: Wistia maybe?
ERIKA: No, EVS, is that somethingÖ?
YARO: Oh yes, Easy Video something.
ERIKA: Yes, we added that later on which has helped with playback quality and so forth. But yes, at this point, the website backend is fairly sophisticated. So, itís not something for newbie to be learning.
YARO: And, where do all the people come from to make $70,000 in sales? Is it still, thatís obviously not just a forum and a blog and speaking on stage, is that where itís predominantly coming from?
ERIKA: It came from, the irony of that year was that I did do a speaking engagement and nothing really came of it because by then, my vibe was kind of shifting and I wasnít fitting in to the seduction community as well anymore but, for whatever reason, this abundance challenge started producing results for people pretty quickly and they were writing me testimonials.
And then, people were getting the abundance challenge and they loved it so much. This is what I learned about these video products is that you can get private coaching clients off of your video products because they get to know you. Theyíre seeing my face and itís all very, Iím walking them through the method in the video so, they get a really good feel for what theyíre going to get in a private session and people just loved that product.
So, basically, what happened is it wasnít coming from the speaking engagements. People were just using that product and loving it and wanting to sign up for my fifteen-week miracle program which by then, had gone up to $20,000 tuition for the fifteen weeks. It went up gradually.
It started as a $5000 program but, once peopleÖ Once I got to the main testimonials, they just kept going up.
YARO: Okay, Iím getting confused with your programs. You have a 30-day video program which is the digital no private coaching and thatís like $300 or something like that?
ERIKA: Yes, thatís $300 and then, I have a whole bunch of advanced 30-day ones which are more expensive.
YARO: And then, if they really want to get personal time with you, itís now a $29,000 15-week program.
ERIKA: Thatís even higher now although, if itís a committed person, I will work out payment plans and Iíll even negotiate sometimes on the prices but, it has to be somebody who is really, really committed.
YARO: Itís uncommon to find people charging $20,000 plus unless itís like a live event and they are pitching over a three-day weekend. Thatís the only time Iíve ever seen a product of that price or Rich Schefren, someone with someone with like this credibility and clearly, youíve got something similar in your space. I can imagine you selling a ton of it but, even if I could get one or two sale shows that you really have a solid established credibility in your marketplace.
ERIKA: Yes, and the value of the program is high. It is definitely the condensed version of everything I learned from this as weíve gone on here a very long journey. So, I basically took everything I learned and condensed it into a 15-week program.
YARO: And, thatís what you worked through over the phone as well as the Digital Access.
ERIKA: Yes, that one is a purely one on one Skype program so, itís customized to anybody who takes it. But, Iím definitely taking very few private clients at this point but, at that point, we were still really much on that trajectory.
YARO: And, that wasnít for dating advice was it? That was all about abundance and money and that sort of thing.
ERIKA: It was basically whatever the client wanted to work on. Some wanted to work on money. One guy I worked with, we eliminated his social anxiety and that was his biggest thing.
He also had a money miracle during the program but, we were mostly focused on social stuff.
YARO: Okay, amazing. So, like we talked about before the call, this is kind of like a general subject matter that people, if they can come to you for money, then social anxiety before that pick up artist training yet, youíre sort of using the same techniques to solve everyoneís problem. But, you said before, youíre kind of going against the advice of specialization so, you know, become the best social anxiety cure out there but no, youíve got the solution for a lot of subjects but, see, this is where Iím kind of confused. Especially today, how do people find you? Would they search for social anxiety then, take your 30-day video course and then, hire you? Is that kind of how it works?
ERIKA: Weíve talked about in the email. I have never focused on web traffic. I used to look at my stats and I found I got on a hamster wheel about it like I donít like it when I start adjusting when Iím writing based on how popular itís going to be, stuff like that. My success really came from Facebook. It came from a lot of sources, right because I was doing this speaking. I was doing the blogging. I did that forum for that first year. People knew me but, a lot came from Facebook. A very large amount of business came from Facebook.
YARO: So, thatís something you started in recent years.
ERIKA: Facebook, I got on Facebook right near at the beginning. That was another one of this synchronicity. One of my friends, like when I started the blog, one of my friends insisted I get on Facebook.
So, that was growing. Every time I go to speaking engagements, more people would add me. That grew the whole time I was growing the business.
YARO: Right. So, just have people following you just because they were connecting with you somewhere and then, you do start to make offers through Facebook. Is that..?
ERIKA: Yes, and Iím not at all conventional on high project. I tend to be very controversial on Facebook. My views on things are not conventional at all and a fair number of people get very offended by me.
YARO: Itís a marketing technique. It works.
ERIKA: It has, I supposed you could say it has worked. It was not intended that way, right. My thing was just radical honestly and hey look people, if we want our lives to get better, we have to question our beliefs just like had a question about the rental income. If we sit here and let our limiting beliefs run everything, nothing has ever been changed so, I tend to really call out beliefs and people tend to be very attached to their beliefs.
So then, they get their feathers ruffled.
YARO: And, ruffled feathers lead to sale somehow.
ERIKA: [Laughs] You know, while there were all these people who hated me, and Iím not overstating that. There are a lot of people who do not like me and I accept that, itís okay. There were people who tended to be more silent who were watching this and they tended not to chime in to be honest with you.
Sometimes, they did but, most of the time, they didnít. But, they sometimes, have been watching me for years and a lot of them have actually said to me, ìI want to know how you had the courage to say things that everyone else hated.î Thatís literally probably been the theme I heard from more of my clients than anything else. I wanted to know how you were so free, basically is what it comes down to. And that is, I would say, one of the big secrets here.
I donít go for popularity. I donít go for high traffic. I go for committed people who really get my message.
YARO: You really are a very personal brand driven business then, arenít you?
ERIKA: Yes, like totally absolutely, yes.
YARO: Öwhich answers most of my questions. Most of the offers you make the sales is going to come from people who connected with your message albeit controversial at times but, they are the ones who obviously, agree on some level agree with that and want to share and explore it. So, they see you as a way to do that and your training is a way to do that, as well.
The numbers can be something that is not worth talking about but, Iím assuming your Facebook following is large enough now that it continues to grow that thatís pretty much where you spend your time marketing even though you wouldnít probably call it marketing. Youíre just talking about things you care about which leads to people buying your stuff, simply put.
ERIKA: Yes, I know, I mean as you know, the Facebook marketing is changing and Iím in a quite phase right now. I have a feeling that something else is coming. I have a feeling itís actually going to shift away from Facebook but, I donít know where itís shifting yet.
YARO: Okay, so what do you do today?
ERIKA: So, today, life is a lot quieter and my biggest year so far was in 2012. I made about $375,000 that year in the business and paid off all my debts, that year and the beginning of next year.
And, I had a pretty good year last year but, it wasnít nearly as high and Iím still on track for six figures this year but, things have like quieted down a lot and Iím in a pretty introspective place right now, which because of my past history, doesnít scare me as much as it would have. I just assume that something new is on the horizon. I donít know what it is yet so, thereís no point really turning my wheels and trying to make something work or whatever, right? Iím just listening for the guidance to come so that, Iíll know what to do next.
YARO: And in terms of your business, itís just youíve got digital products that sell when they sell. Youíre not pushing them too hard. It sounds like youíre not pushing your private coaching at the moment very hard either. What are you doing? Youíre just hanging around? [Laughs]
ERIKA: No, I mean yes. I still do my social media. Iím still creating advanced products for my established customer base.
YARO: You go to events?
ERIKA: I have really cut back on the social stuff. Itís just not resonating with me right now partly because my own inter-transformation has been so much that Iím like on a totally different planet than most people. So, all I can tell you is that every time I have a bill due, the money showed up. It always shows up and I think thatís because I have trained my mind to be able to create money whenever I need it. Itís just always shows up.
So, Iím in a more, like Iím still working on the business at probably every other single day but, Iím not in a fanatic like, ìI have to make salesî kind of move with it, if that makes sense.
YARO: Well, of course, youíre financial situation is so much more relaxed, right. Thereís no mortgage. So, you must have more free time then to, I donít know, read books and meditate and so on?
ERIKA: Yes, Iím not much of a book reader. I do go out skiing. We have a hot tub here but, I spend a lot of time just being. I donít know how else to say it.
YARO: You must have a physical existence somewhere so, you sit in your house in a chair, sort of to counterfeit things?
ERIKA: You know, Iím two months right now, Iím working on a product so, I do go up, when I get inspired, I go up and record videos. And then, I have to edit them and upload them and get them on the site. Thereís lots of stuff to do, right? But, I have been cooking at home a lot more, focused on really just being and that I got to say, itís a happyÖ I used to be crazy all the time with being a lawyer and everything. And, I donít think most people realize how happy you can be just being like a cat.
YARO: Yes, cats do a good job at that.
ERIKA: Yes, look at how happy they look, just kind of lounging around all day.
YARO: They do get pissed off every now and then but, most of the time, theyíre pretty chill.
ERIKA: Thatís how it feels. I feel like I become more and more cat-like as weíre going along here.
YARO: Yes, okay. All right, well itís probably a good time to wrap it up then. Where do we find more about you?
ERIKA: Long winding journey home.
YARO: Oh, itís good to get the whole story. So, whereís your Facebook page first?
ERIKA: Facebook page at facebook.com/erikaawakening.
YARO: And, your website? Is there a blog we can check out?
ERIKA: Yes, two main websites. One is erikaawakening.com so, thatís easy. And, the one where I sell my products is called tapsmarter.com as in smartertapping.com
YARO: Okay, awesome. And, just for the guys who are curious from the early day stuff. Do you still have that seduction blog up?
ERIKA: Iíve moved all that content on the erikaawakening.com so, if they go back in the archives, thereís lots and lots and lots of free content all over that site about seduction advice, yes.
YARO: Okay, I should say guys and girls and maybe some girls do want to check it out, too.
ERIKA: Yes, lots of them do follow it too. They were fascinated by it.
YARO: Okay. All right, Erika, well, thank you. I wish you good luck but, I donít think you need it. Iím sure itís going to unfold as it will and yes, thanks for taking the time to share the full story with me.
ERIKA: Thank you, I really appreciate it. This was fun.
YARO: Well, there you have it, the interview with Erika. I hope you enjoyed that. I certainly enjoyed recording it. Such an interesting story Erika has with all kinds of ups and downs and unique situation that she found herself in.
If you like to grab some more podcast interviews like this, you can find them all on my Entrepreneurs-Journey blog. You can find that by googling my name, thatís the easy way. Just go Y-A-R-O into Google and youíll find my blog that way.
Youíll also find my podcast in iTunes. You can again search for my name that way or just type it on Entrepreneurs Journey and it will show up in your podcast whether thatís on your phone or your tablet or on your computer.
I hope you enjoyed the interview again. Thanks for listening. Please become a subscriber. Leave a review on iTunes. My name is Yaro. Thank you for listening and talk to your soon. Bye!
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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